From the moment we finished Jennifer & Jeff's engagement session at Yale back in June, we have been looking forward to their wedding day. From the way the had each other cracking up all afternoon, we knew it was going to be filled with laughter. Based on the descriptions of their Irish and Scottish families, we knew there was going to be some incredible energy. And from the way they looked into each other's eyes and held on to one another o sweetly during the engagement session, we knew that above all it was going to be one incredibly romantic day. Being that they are a lawyer and a college professor respectively, Jennifer and Jeff don't do anything half way and their wedding day was a true representation of that. Their wedding day was all of those things and so much more. The whole day was about the three things that clearly mean the most to them - their family, friends and each other.
Starting in the morning when we arrived and were greeted by Jen's super generous family and friends, we felt like we were part of the family. So much so, I almost couldn't help standing back with her bridesmaids and gushing with them about how gorgeous Jen looked like we had all been friends for years. It was the energy of the crowd, it was completely contagious. Everyone was so happy and excited, you couldn't help but get caught up in it. Miles away at the church, it had spread there as well. When we walked in, Jeff greeted us as warmly as he did every other guest that walked in. He was excited we were there with them, and we felt very much the same way. We couldn't wait for the ceremony to start because we knew it was going to be filled with emotion - and it was. As Jennifer and Jeff stood in the front of the altar gently holding hands, we couldn't help but steal a glance around the pews and check the reactions of the guests. From the looks on their faces, they were caught up in the energy too, it was palpable. Once the vows were exchanged and the tears of joy wiped away, everyone was ready to celebrate like only Irish and Scottish people can do. Being someone of Irish decent myself, I knew what kind of party that meant and I couldn't wait to see it. It's hard to describe, but an Irish party is completely unique - it's joyous, boisterous and somehow manages to draw the entire crowd in like one huge group hug. And Jennifer and Jeff's reception was exactly like that. There was the kind of laughter that had you bending over to catch your breath, the kind of dancing that made you forget anyone is watching and the kind of energy that made you want the evening to go on forever. Of course, the night did have to come to an end but it was just the beginning of Jennifer & Jeff's life together. The first of many more celebrations to come.
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We started the morning in North Branford at Jennifer's childhood home where both of her parents went out of their way to make us comfortable, making it very clear where Jen had gotten her incredible caring nature. As the ladies from Naomi's Studio and Salon in West Hartford were finishing up Jen's make-up we got started right away, capturing her gorgeous Pronovias gown, her simple and elegant flats and her bouquet adorned with a family rosary. While we were finishing up, Jen's father brought out his other pride and joy - his Morris Minor antique car. Rob loved the car and took a few minutes grabbing shots of it while I went back inside to let Jen know she could start getting ready. Once her bridesmaids helped her into her gown, we all headed outside for a few shots of Jen and her girls and then went over to St Augustine Church in North Branford for the ceremony.
Jennifer and Jeff scheduled quite a bit of time between their ceremony and reception, giving us plenty of time to get pictures of the two of them, their families and their wedding party. We took the family pictures right at the church, giving all of the family members the chance to relax in the time between and then headed up to Hartford with Jen, Jeff and their wedding party. We had a blast with all of them - they are just as hilarious and Jen and Jeff, and totally up for having a little fun while taking pictures. Before heading over to the pretty spots in Bushnell Park, we went for a completely different vibe, exploring the streets around the The Bond Ballroom in Hartford and taking advantage of the unique urban feel. We had so much time, in fact, that Jennifer and Jeff were able to join their cocktail hour and spend time with their guests.
The reception started sweet, with Jennifer and Jeff's romantic first dance. From there, the laughter started to begin, as Jeff's brother took the mic and gave a very funny speech. Jennifer's sisters-in-law were up next, and they brought back the sweet, sharing how much they love having Jennifer as their sister. Once the dance floor opened, Irish DJ's Pat and Joan Kennedy had the floor packed playing a mix of traditional Irish music and modern hits - pretty much a guarantee that nearly everyone would get up and dance. Even on the packed floor, it wasn't hard to spot Jen and Jeff in the crowd. He was usually spinning her around and she was smiling so brightly it was bound to catch your eye. They were the vision of happiness, exactly as we knew they would be.
Jen's gorgeous Pronovias gown was perfect for her, simple and gorgeous. We spotted this tree by the side of her house and were so excited that it still happened to be in bloom.
I have to admit, I'm kinda jealous of tall brides like Jen that get to wear cute, comfortable flats on their wedding day.
Jen's father's face when he saw his daughter in her dress for the first time pretty much sums it up. So does his T-shirt.
Honestly, can't you see why we were all gushing about how gorgeous Jen looked?
There it is, Jen's father's other pride and joy, his Morris Minor car. He has been working on it and restoring it for years. It was very fitting that it would be Jen's mode of transportation over to the church.
That was Jen's smile pretty much the whole day - you couldn't miss it. She was absolutely beaming.
As usual, Rob was in the front of the church with Jeff while I was in the back with Jen and her father. I love looking out for moments like these, when Jen's father takes her arm and it's literally seconds before they walk down the aisle.
Here is what Rob was capturing at the front of the church - Jen and Jeff seeing one another for the first time and the smiles that followed.
Seeing the way Jen & Jeff looked at each other during the vows, you could honestly feel the room filling up with emotion. It was that sweet.
Of course, we had to be spend a few minutes after the ceremony with the Morris Minor before it made it's way back to the garage.
We spotted this wall the minute we walked out of the Bond Ballroom to walk over to Bushnell Park. we knew we had to head over there. Thankfully, the bridal party were totally game for it even though there were a few dumpsters just a few feet away. It was totally worth it.
The bridal party started walking over to Bushnell Park while we snuck in a few minutes with just the new husband and wife.
We love mixing non-pretty locations with a gorgeous bride and groom and this parking lot in Hartford was ideal for that. Being that Jen and Jeff got to know us on their engagement session, they totally understood what we were going for.
Jennifer and Jeff were pretty excited there were already some leaves on the ground. Their wedding was mid-September, so it could have gone either way, especially considering how weird the weather has been. They ended up with the perfect kind of day - warm and with leaves on the ground.
Bushnell Park in Hartford is a great spot for pictures because it not only has the arch, a carousel and some really beautiful grounds, it also has this great view of the state capitol building.
Ok, clearly Jeff was looking quite handsome himself. Look at those dimples.
When photographing wedding parties, we always look for ways to capture the personality and energy of the group. This shot pretty much sums up how much fun this particular group was to spend the afternoon with.
The ample time between ceremony and reception gave us the chance to hit up yet another spot in Bushnell Park, the carousel. We walked in right before closing time and they very kindly stayed open a few extra minutes so the bridal party could have a ride on the carousel all by themselves.
We couldn't help ourselves, we grabbed a few more shots in the parking lot before heading in for the reception. The light outside was too pretty to miss.
One of our favorite things about the Bond Ballroom, besides the view and that huge chandelier are the windows. It's a total throwback to another time and a reminder of Hartford's rich history.
A view of the details and the view, plus Jennifer & Jeff made place cards for us and sat us as guests - how sweet is that!
The whole room burst into applause as Jennifer and Jeff entered the reception and their usual smiles got even bigger...
and then they launched into their very sweet first dance.
Next up, the toasts. Jeff's brother had Jennifer laughing so hard she was gasping for breath and Jen's sisters in law gushed about how sweet she is.
This is Rob's shot - he was able to expose for both the view and the gorgeous Bond Ballroom chandelier in the reflection of the window.
Jennifer & Jeff, we have really loved getting to know you both! You are such an amazing couple and we are so happy we got to share in your day. Hope you have an amazing time on your honeymoon this winter!